Title:
ADAPTER FOR DRINK CONTAINER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention relates to an adapter for facilitating consuming food or drink from a container, for example to a mouthpiece of a mask. An embodiment of the adapter includes a body that can be connected to a drink container, a connector for connecting the adapter to the mouthpiece of the mask, and a transferring element for transferring the drink to the mouthpiece.



Inventors:
Wild, Hans-peter (Eppelheim, DE)
Schwartz, Erhard (Wiesloch, DE)
Application Number:
12/190077
Publication Date:
02/19/2009
Filing Date:
08/12/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
383/127
International Classes:
B65D30/00
View Patent Images:
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20020145022Foldable utility container / carrierOctober, 2002Nguyen et al.
20100051632Beverage Determination IndicatorMarch, 2010Mayer
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Primary Examiner:
CASTELLANO, STEPHEN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
STROOCK & STROOCK & LAVAN LLP (NEW YORK, NY, US)
Claims:
1. 1-8. (canceled)

9. An adapter for connecting a drink container having a spout to a mouthpiece of a mask, the adapter comprising: a body having a first connector constructed and arranged to attach the body to the spout of the drink container; a suction pipe connected to the body, the suction pipe constructed and arranged to be inserted into the drink container when the body is attached to the drink container, the suction pipe for withdrawing fluid from within the drink container into the suction pipe; a transferring element via which fluid is transferred from within the drink container to the mouthpiece of the mask; and a second connector constructed and arranged to attach to the mouthpiece of the mask.

10. The adapter of claim 9, wherein the first connector includes a plurality of threads to screw onto a corresponding connecting member of the drink container.

11. An adapter for connecting a container to a mouthpiece of a mask, the adapter comprising: a body constructed and arranged to connect to a container; a transferring element via which fluid is transferred from within the container to the mouthpiece of the mask; and a connector constructed and arranged to attach to the mouthpiece of the mask.

12. The adapter of claim 11, wherein the body further includes a second connector for releasably connecting the body to the container.

13. The adapter of claim 11, wherein the body further includes a threaded second connector for releasably connecting the body to the container.

14. The adapter of claim 11, wherein the connector includes a connection tube.

15. The adapter of claim 11, wherein the connector is constructed and arranged to be releasable from the mouthpiece.

16. The adapter of claim 11, wherein the connector includes a coupling element constructed and arranged to connect the connector to the mouthpiece.

17. The adapter of claim 11, wherein the body includes a suction pipe.

18. The adapter of claim 11, wherein the body includes a suction pipe extending into the container when the body is connected to the container.

19. The adapter of claim 11, wherein the body includes a gripping element constructed and arranged to facilitate connecting the body to the container.

20. A drinking system comprising the adapter of claim 11; a mask having a mouthpiece; and a container; wherein the adapter is connected to the mouthpiece via the connector; and the adapter is connected to the container via the body.

21. The system of claim 20, wherein the container is a foil bag.

22. The system of claim 20, wherein the mask is a protective mask constructed and arranged to protect a wearer from contaminants.

23. The system of claim 20, wherein the mouthpiece includes a food intake valve constructed and arranged to receive the connector of the adapter.

24. The system of claim 20, wherein the container includes a threaded spout and the body of the adapter includes a threaded portion constructed and arranged to be screwed onto the threaded spout.

25. The system of claim 20, wherein the container includes a first locking element and the body of the adapter includes a second locking element constructed and arranged to interact with the first locking element to secure the body to the container.

26. The system of claim 20, wherein the container is houses liquid therein.

27. A drink container comprising: a foil bag; a threaded connecting element; an adapter of claim 20 connected to the threaded connecting element.

28. An adapter for connecting a drink container having a threaded spout to a mouthpiece, the adapter comprising: a body having a threaded connector constructed and arranged to connect to the threaded spout of the drink container; and a transferring element via which fluid is transferred from within the container to the mouthpiece; wherein a person can intake the contents of the drink container via the mouthpiece.

Description:

The invention relates to an adapter for a mouthpiece, such as a mouthpiece of a protective mask, to permit a person to drink from a container, such as a film drink pouch, without taking the protective mask off.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

People who are in contaminated surroundings often require a mask to protect themselves from the contaminants around them. For example, people in the military or people who work in contaminated surroundings often wear protective masks while working in such surroundings or at any time that they are exposed to the contaminants. Accordingly, these protective masks are often fitted with a food intake connection adapted to have a specially made food container connected to it. Therefore, the person wearing the mask can eat or drink from the specially made food container without having the food or the person exposed to the contaminants.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An adapter is provided for permitting a person wearing a mask to eat or drink from a conventional food or drink container without exposing its contents. The adapter can include a connecting device for connecting the adapter to a conventional food container. For example, if the food container includes a threaded top covered by a threaded cap, the connecting device of the adapter can be threaded. Thus, the connecting device can be screwed onto the threaded top of the food container after removing the threaded cap. The adapter can also include a suction device extending into the food container to facilitate removing the contents of the food container through the adapter. The adapter preferably includes a second connecting device constructed and arranged to connect to the mouthpiece of the mask.

The objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description, considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawing figure. It is to be understood, however, that the drawings are designed solely for the purpose of illustration and not as a definition of the limits of the invention, for which reference should be made to the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The particular features and advantages of the invention as well as other objects will become apparent from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of an adapter in accordance with an embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a drinking system in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENTS

Certain exemplary embodiments of the present invention will now be described with reference to the drawings. In general, such embodiments relate to adapters for connecting a container to a mouthpiece. Referring to FIGS. 1-2, an adapter assembly generally indicated as 1 is shown, having a first connector 9 suitable for being connected to a container 2 and a second connector 10 suitable for being connected to a mask 4. When used with a drink container, adapter assembly 1 preferably facilitates drinking from the drink container, especially while wearing mask 4.

Food containers, for example, drink containers, are often provided with replaceable closures. Examples of such drink containers include, by way of non-limiting example, bottles, such as glass or plastic bottles, and foil bags. These containers can include a threaded top, such as a spout, and a corresponding threaded cap, which can be screwed on and off the threaded top. Referring to FIG. 2, container 2 can include a top 5 having a threaded spout 7 and a threaded cap 6. Cap 6 can be screwed onto spout 7 to close container 2 and preferably seal container 2 to prevent the transfer of particles into container 2 from outside container 2. Alternatively, cap 6 and spout 7 can be connected via a bayonet joint, through a locking connection, snap-on connection, or other connecting mechanism without deviating from the scope of the invention. In accordance with an embodiment of container 2, top 5 can include a seal, such as a sealing foil, on spout 7.

An example of a container 2 suitable for use with adapter 1 includes a foil bag formed of a flexible, one-layer or multi-layer foil. The foil bag can be formed by welding together the superimposed edges of the foil. Once the foil bag is filled, for example, with a drink, the weight and volume of the drink can stabilize the foil bag. Such foil bags are preferably light weight, and more preferably of negligible weight. More specifically, the total weight being transported by the drink filled foil bag is preferably proximate the weight of the drink itself. When a person is wearing or carrying a mask, the person usually cannot put the drink down after consuming the drink. Accordingly, it can be advantageous for the container 2 to be of negligible weight. Moreover, a flexible foil bag can be preferred because its contents can be emptied without replacing the consumed content with air, which can be preferred in an area where the air is contaminated.

A person can remove cap 6 and drink directly from spout 7 or insert a straw into container 2 through spout 7. However, there are situations when neither option is preferred. In fact, when the person is in a highly contaminated area, neither option may be acceptable because removing the cap 6 may permit contaminants in the air to enter the container 2.

A person in a contaminated area often wears a mask 4, for example, a protective mask. By way of non-limiting example, a military personnel in a contaminated area often wears a protective mask, which is usually provided with specially constructed food containers connected to the protective mask. Therefore, the military personnel may drink or ingest the food from within the specially constructed food container without removing the protective mask, thus protecting the personnel from the contaminants surrounding them.

By providing an adapter 1 in accordance with an exemplary embodiment of the invention, a person wearing a protective mask 4 can drink or ingest food from a conventional container, such as a bottle or foil bag for drinks, rather than requiring specially made containers.

In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, adapter 1 includes a hollow body 8 having a first connector 9 and a flow-through opening 8a extending therethrough. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-2, first connector 9 includes a plurality of threads so that body 8 can be screwed onto top 5, more preferably spout 7, of container 2. Preferably, first connector 9 can be connected to top 5 of container 2 in the same manner as cap 6. Whereas first connector 9 is shown as a plurality of threads on the inner surface of body 8 proximate the wider end of body 8, it is to be understood that the placement and arrangement of first connector can be varied without deviating from the scope of the invention.

Body 8 can include a gripping element to facilitate fastening body 8 onto and removing body 8 from container 2. As shown, a plurality of ribs are provided on the exterior of body 8, which may improve the grip of a person rotating body 8 to screw body 8 onto top 5 of container 2. Alternatively, a plurality of projections extending from body 8 can be provided to facilitate rotating body 8 or otherwise facilitate securing and removing body 8 from top 5 of container 2. First connector 9, body 8 and/or flow-through opening 8a preferably comprise the same material as top 5 of container 2, for example, plastic. Providing the same material as top 5 may also facilitate fastening body 8 onto and removing body 8 from top 5 of container 2. Moreover, by providing the same material for both body 8 and top 5, the connection created between body 8 and top 5 may be enhanced.

Adapter 1 preferably also includes a second connector 10. A connection hose 11 can be provided between second connector 10 and body 8, connection hose 11 being constructed and arranged to permit the flow of fluid or food therethrough. In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, connection hose 11 is fixedly connected to body 8. Second connector 10 is preferably constructed and arranged to connect to a mouthpiece 3 of mask 4. Referring to FIG. 2, mouthpiece 3 can be connected to a valve 12, which can be connected to a tube 13. The embodiment of tube 13 shown includes a coupling element 14 constructed and arranged to connect tube 13 to connection hose 11. For example, second connector 10 can include a dimensional adaptation of connection hose 11 which can be inserted into, clamped onto or alternatively fixed to coupling element 14.

Alternatively, second connector 10 can be provided directly on body 8 without a connection hose 11 therebetween. In such an embodiment, second connector 10 can be fastened to mouthpiece 3 directly or via tube 13, wherein the length of tube 13 can be provided as desired. In accordance with another embodiment, connection hose 11 can be connected, preferably via second connector 10, to valve 12 of mouthpiece 3.

In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-2, adapter 1 includes a suction mechanism, such as a suction pipe 15 having one or more openings 16. Suction pipe 15 is preferably inserted into container 2 to withdraw the contents of container 2 into adapter 1. As shown, suction pipe 15 preferably includes a plurality of openings 16 proximate the distal end of suction pipe 15 from body 8. The proximal end of suction pipe 15 is preferably connected to body 8, more preferably to flow through 8a of body 8. Therefore, the inside of container 2 can be in fluid connection with mouthpiece 3 via adapter 1. For example, a fluid or other content of container 2 can be transferred from container 2 through flow through 8a, through connection hose 11 and second connector 10, through coupler 14 and tube 13, then through valve 12 and into mouthpiece 3 until it reaches the mouth of the person wearing the mask 4.

In the embodiment shown, the openings 16 are provide at the distal end as well as on the side wall of suction pipe 15 proximate the distal end, which may facilitate the intake of fluids or other content of container 2. Suction pipe 15 is preferably inserted into container 2 such that a person wearing the mask may suck on mouthpiece 3, which preferably extends inside mask 4, to drink from container 2. Suction pipe 15 preferably permits container 2 to be maintained in an upright position without sacrificing the ability to intake the contents of container 2 through adapter 1. Suction pipe 15 preferably has a length suitable for use with standard containers 2. However, it is to be understood that the length, shape, arrangement, etc. of suction pipe 15 can be provided as a matter of application specific design choice without deviating from the scope of the invention.

In accordance with an embodiment of container 2 having a seal on spout 7 of container 2, suction pipe 15 may be used to pierce the seal as adapter 1 is being attached to container 2. The remaining portion of the seal can encompass the periphery of suction pipe 15, which may improve the sealing of the interior of container 2 from the surrounding atmosphere.

Whereas adapter 1 has been described generally for use with masks, it is to be understood that adapter 1 can be used in a variety of situations and by a variety of users. For example, adapter 1 can be preferable for use with container 2 when it is improbable to tilt container 2 to drink its contents. In such a situation, adapter 1 can be connected to container 2 and a person can drink from a mouthpiece connected to second connector 10 or, alternatively, the person can drink directly from second connector 10, connection hose 11 or tube 13 without deviating from the scope of the invention.

Additionally, whereas adapter 1 has been described herein as a removable assembly, adapter 1 can be provided to be non-releasable without deviating from the scope of the invention. Additionally, whereas first connector 9 is shown as including threads, it is to be understood that other connecting mechanisms, such as, by way of non-limiting example, snap on mechanism, a locking mechanism, or a bayonet mechanism can be used without deviating from the scope of the invention.

The examples provided are merely exemplary, as a matter of application specific to design choice, and should not be construed to limit the scope of the invention in any way.

Thus, while there have been shown and described and pointed out novel features of the present invention as applied to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood that various omissions and substitutions and changes in the form and details of the disclosed invention may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, body 9, flow through 8a and first connector 9 can be formed integrally, such as by molding into a unitary piece, or comprise two or more separate pieces without deviating from the scope of the invention as a matter of application specific to design choice. Additionally, other alterations can be made, as a way of non-limiting example, varying size, shape, and number of suction pipes 15, the position, size, shape, and arrangement of openings 16, etc. as a matter of application specific to design choice, without deviating from the scope of the invention. For example, a plurality of suction pipes 15 can be provided, or a suction pipe may branch out into a plurality of branches each having one or more openings for drawing in the drink or other content of the container. Additionally, the location of top 5 and spout 7 of container 2 can be varied, for example, by providing the spout proximate the side, bottom, etc. of container 2. The term “top” is used herein for convenience and does not limit the position of top 5 or spout 7 in any way. It is the intention, therefore, to be limited only as indicated by the scope of the claims appended hereto.

It is also to be understood that the following claims are intended to cover all of the generic and specific features of the invention herein described and all statements of the scope of the invention which, as a matter of language, might be said to fall therebetween.